Tyla enjoying life in the ‘here and now’

Cancer survivor Tyla Hodkinson and his dad Kim, mum Julia and sister Daisy, pictured with their dog Lizzie, are urging people to back Cancer Research UK's Right Now campaign.
Cancer survivor Tyla Hodkinson and his dad Kim, mum Julia and sister Daisy, pictured with their dog Lizzie, are urging people to back Cancer Research UK's Right Now campaign.

A Northumberland schoolboy is celebrating turning 11 and living life to the full again after three years of challenging treatment for cancer.

Tyla Hodkinson, from Cramlington, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in April, 2013.

Now he has finished his treatment, Tyla is determined to make every day count and wants others to do the same.

Tyla’s experience is driving him and his family to back Cancer Research UK’s Right Now campaign and call on people in the North East to get involved.

The charity’s Right Now TV ads feature real cancer survivors and their families telling their stories.

Tyla was only five when he was diagnosed with the disease and he is hoping to share his story with others in order to inspire them.

Tyla’s dad Kim, 42, said: “Tyla had been getting joint pains and his usual 100mph approach to life began to slow because of the discomfort he was feeling.

“We went to the doctors and we were told his symptoms could be because of growing pains or even juvenile arthritis.

“A week or so later, his discomfort got a lot worse and he wasn’t able to walk for any distance before he’d be in real pain.

“His energy levels were low, and he became increasingly emotional with the pain and the general feeling of being unwell. We also noticed a few unexplained bruises across his body.

“On the third trip to the doctors, the GP sent us straight to the Royal Victoria Infirmary for blood tests.

“He was diagnosed with leukaemia that day and immediately admitted to hospital to start his treatment the following day.

“It felt like our world had crumbled, but there is also a part of you that is relieved that someone has identified what’s wrong and now they can work on taking his pain away and give you your little boy back.

“He was amazing and to look at him today, you wouldn’t be able to tell what he’s been through.”

Tyla was given the all-clear in August 2016, but still attends tri-monthly check-ups.

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives.

Survival has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

Jaelithe Leigh-Brown, Cancer Research UK spokesman for the North East, said: “Our Right Now campaign aims to show both the realities of the disease and the positive impact research and improved treatments can have on people’s lives.”

To help support life-saving research, go to www.cruk.org